Thursday, 6 August 2015

Doujin Shmups #10

Infinos (2013)
By: Picorinne Soft Genre: Shooting Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: PC First Day Score: 93,625
Also Available For: Nothing

It must've been some two or three years ago now that this game was first brought to my attention. Lord only knows why it's taken me so long to take a look at it but finally I have, and found... that I should have done so much earlier! I have been able to discover little of its background, largely because it was released only in Japan and all accompanying info is accordingly in corrupted kanji, but I suspect the story involves the usual invasion of horrifyingly evil aliens and resultant lone hero setting out to vanquish them, etc. What I can tell you for sure is that it's a horizontal-scroller and that Irem's classic, legendary R-Type was clearly the main inspiration behind it. I'm not sure anyone could blame the talented fellow (or fellows) of Picorinne Soft for holding said game in such high esteem though.

The first stage and things are looking very R-Type-ish...
There are six fairly short stages in total through which you will battle groups of small enemy ships, lone larger examples, and guns dotted around the extensive scenery as well. Your little Vic Viper-style ship starts off slow and cumbersome and armed only with a teeny pea-shooter so it's wise to look out for the small, stationary power-up craft. Shooting these releases one of several useful items including speed-ups, shields, and any of three extra weapons. The first one of these will give you a pair of little pods - one above your ship, the other below - which duplicate your fire, while the next will upgrade them - blue gives you diagonal lasers, green gives a powerful wibbly forward shot, and red gives you a wider forward wave shot. Collecting another coloured power-up then increases weapon power and range accordingly.

And onto the much tougher second stage...
Of course, extra weapons are lost when you lose a life but the pods can be grabbed again when you restart if you're quick. Doing this can be risky itself though, and you may not often last too long if you lose a life on any stage other than the first for that stage is a gentle, enjoyable introduction to the game but things quickly get tougher from the second stage onwards. Infinos, you see, is similar to the games that influenced it not only in terms of its aesthetic qualities but also its difficulty, and by that I mean it becomes almost impossible to last more than 30 seconds once you've lost your first life. Okay, maybe it's not quite that bad but it really isn't easy to get powered-up again and your basic weapon fires tiny bullets making it quite easy to miss enemies and very time-consuming to defeat the ghastly bosses that guard the exits.

Watch out for deadly spores on stage three...
That's pretty standard stuff for a shmup of the era though I guess, and it does definitely look and play very much like a late '80's game. The stage design is good, featuring lots of scenery, split sections, and obstacles in addition to the many enemy sprites which are varied and mostly great. The music is really nice too, and similarly reminiscent of 80's shmups, although most of the effects are rather weak, but overall it's hard to fault Infinos. A lot of ideas, features, and even stages are inspired by classics of old such as the oft-mentioned R-Type (yes, there's even a battleship stage here!), as well as games like Gradius and Darius, but so what? It's never been a commercial release - it's actually completely free to download - the controls are good, and it's enjoyable and challenging to play. What more could you ask for?

RKS Score: 8/10

Special Note: If you like the look of Infinos, download it from Picorinne Soft's website here. If you're not convinced, here's a video of the first half of the game (spoiler alert!):


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